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Report: 3-on-3 basketball to be added to Olympics for 2020 Games in Tokyo

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For several years now, FIBA (the international organizing body of basketball) has been pushing a 3-on-3 version of the sport. They see it sort of like beach volleyball compared to the traditional indoor game — it’s the way a lot of us have played the game in pick-up games at the park: Half court, scoring by 1 or 2, games are to 21 (with a 10-minute limit), and if the other team misses a shot you have to clear it beyond the three-point line before you can shoot. FIBA has tried to grow this version of the sport, and there is even a 3-on-3 world cup that tips off in a couple of weeks in France.

Now 3-on-3 basketball likely will be coming to the Olympics, reports the Associated Press.

Every four years the International Olympic Committee looks to add sports to the games (or remove some), and for Tokyo in 2020 it looks like 3-on-3 basketball will make the cut. The final vote is next Friday.

It’s a pretty frenetic version of the game because of the 12-second shot clock and the fact that play never stops — after a made basket the team that gave up the bucket gets the ball and clears it out to the arc then can instantly start. There’s no make-it-and-take-it rule, and the ball does not have to be checked before play starts.

FIBA sees it as a version of the game for a modern age — faster paced and with short games for those who don’t want to pay attention for a full 40 minutes. The game is basically a sprint with no stop (and no coach). Don’t expect NBA players to jump into this, the 2017 USA men’s team features Quinton Chievous (played in college at Tennessee, spent last season in the D-League with Iowa averaging 8.7 points per game), Myke Henry (DePaul and the Oklahoma City Blue of the D-League), Alfonzo McKinnie (University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the Windy City Bulls of the D-League), and Jonathan Octeus (Purdue and the Windy City Bulls).

The more the merrier, it should be fun to watch. Although, what I’d rather see from FIBA is an expansion of the 5-on-5 basketball pool for the Olympics from 12 to more like 20 — a lot of good teams don’t get in because of the small artificial cutoff.

 

Al Horford ($500K), C.J. McCollum ($170K) donate to coronavirus relief

76ers big Al Horford
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Al Horford (four-year, $97 million-$107 million contract with 76ers) and C.J. McCollum (three-year, $100 million extension with Trail Blazers) received big deals last offseason.

Now, both are stepping up amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

Portland Trail Blazers star CJ McCollum will be donating $170,000 total to the communities of Portland, Oregon, and Canton, Ohio, for COVID-19 relief, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro Area will receive a $70,000 donation and the Akron-Canton Food Bank will receive a donation of $100,000.

This is great.

Report: LaMelo Ball buys his Australian team

LaMelo Ball
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LaMelo Ball signed in Australia under the National Basketball League’s Next Stars program and built himself into a high-end draft pick. But he suffered a season-ending foot injury then left his team under criticism from Illawarra Hawks owner Simon Stratford.

What a powerful rebuttal.

Jonathan Givony of ESPN:

Potential No. 1 NBA draft pick LaMelo Ball and his manager, Jermaine Jackson, have purchased his Australian NBL team, the Illawarra Hawks, Jackson told ESPN on Thursday.

“When Melo wants to do stuff in the summertime, we’ll be there,” Jackson said. “We’ll take a tour with his family all over Australia, doing basketball camps and connecting with the youth. He wants to inspire the next generation.

“That’s how he was raised by his family. People have a perception of his father, but he has a heart of gold and it trickles down to his kids. His father didn’t take him on a traditional route. He started his own sneaker company, Big Baller Brand. We’ve always talked about ownership. Melo wants kids to think big, especially in times like this.”

This is a heck of a headline for an 18-year-old.

I’m curious about the details. What share of the franchise do Ball and Jackson now own? How much did it cost? Did they assume debt to complete the deal? How profitable are NBL teams, especially considering coronavirus-caused uncertainty?

But with Lonzo Ball‘s Pelicans season on hold and LaVar Ball losing influence, this at least puts the spotlight back on a Ball.

Report: 76ers happy with GM Elton Brand, who’s drawing Knicks interest

76ers owner Josh Harris and general manager Elton Brand
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The Knicks are reportedly interested in hiring 76ers general manager Elton Brand.

In New York, Brand would work under new Knicks president Leon Rose. Brand holds the top position in Philadelphia’s front office. So, Brand would likely go to New York only if fired by the 76ers.

Paul Hudrick of NBC Sports Philadelphia:

A team source on Wednesday confirmed Brand is under contract beyond this season and said the organization is very happy with his work since being named GM in 2018. The source cited Brand’s leadership and strong working relationships with players, agents, and executives around the league.

The 76ers are so pleased with Brand… someone said so without under the cloak of anonymity. If he wants to back Brand, 76ers owner Josh Harris can do so publicly. Otherwise, this is so weak.

Teams generally express support toward employees while the employees are still working for the team – whether or not the employees actually hold approval. A key way to tell whether the support is genuine? Check the source. Harris doesn’t want to look like a hypocrite. If he endorses Brand now then fires him soon, Harris would look silly. With this sourcing, nobody would get egg on his or her face if Brand gets ousted, because we don’t know the source.

I bet Brand does have good relationships with everyone. He has long connected well with others.

But his roster-building has fallen flat.

Inertia will probably keep him in his job. Philadelphia overachieving in the playoffs (whatever form they take) – certainly possible – would make that an easier call. It’s just difficult to build an affirmative case for Brand as a team’s lead executive.

Report: No chance of traditional NBA playoffs this season

NBA playoffs
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The NBA playoffs have a familiar format – four rounds, best-of-seven series, games in front of fans at home arenas.

But the coronavirus, which has forced the NBA into an indefinite stoppage and disrupted life around the world, makes that untenable. Don’t expect the league to wait until that’s workable, either.

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated:

At this point, several team and league officials told SI.com, any chance of a traditional postseason is out.

A shortened playoffs in Las Vegas is gaining momentum. It’d allow the NBA, hemorrhaging money, to draw revenue sooner. A reduced postseason would also minimize disruption to future seasons.

But even that comes with major complications, especially containing coronavirus from undermining the entire operation. It could be a long time until its safe to hold games, even in a centralized location without fans.

It could be so long… a traditional playoffs could be back on the table. Though I find that unlikely, I’m still not convince people have a proper understanding of how lengthy this hiatus could be.

Everyone wants to finish the season. The playoffs are the NBA’s most lucrative time, and it feels right to crown a champion.

So, it’s good the focus is on alternative formats. It’d be naïve to expect business as usual when the NBA resumes.